9 phrases reveal someone is awakened to the biases of the rational mind

Logic and reason can only go so far.

Without it, we’re lost. That’s true. But the ability of our mind to rationalize and calculate can’t solve all the challenges that come up in life.

Even the smartest intellectual individual sometimes struggles to grasp the limits of the rational mind.

But other people are able to see that our intellect can blind us if it goes too far.

Here are some of the things people say when they truly understand the limits of intellectualism and rationality.

1) “Respect comes first”

In any negotiation or discussion, rationality only goes so far. 

The rational mind may tell us “this makes sense, this person is right.” 

But at some point, respect has been lost. You simply don’t respect the person speaking to you anymore, or you feel they don’t respect you

Consequently, you’ve stopped caring if they’re correct or not. Without respect, it’s hard to agree on anything with someone even when it’s in your interest to do so.

The rational mind may not put a big premium on things like respect, but most of us do care about it at an even more primal – and sometimes irrational – level.

The rational mind has a bias of telling us to pay attention to numbers, logic and self-interest, even when basic respect is actually missing.

2) “Without trust you have nothing”

Emotions get so cranked up during fights and disputes that sometimes even logic and basic common sense get forgotten in the fray. 

The rational mind tells you that this person can be trusted: they have the right credentials, they look professional, they’re saying all the right things. 

But on some emotional level, you just don’t like them very much. You don’t feel trust for them in your gut.  Your rational mind is telling you all is well and to pay attention to the surface! 

But your gut is telling you something’s not right deeper down. And your gut is winning. 

The rational mind has a bias of trusting based on titles and appearance, and ignoring bad vibes and weird emotions that somebody gives  off.

3) “Too much work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”

The rational mind can bias us to focus on output, productivity and achievement. 

It’s logical to try to earn more money, succeed, and build a bigger business endeavor. If you have the time and energy, why not use it to be as productive as possible?

But too much work can lead to a serious downturn in the other areas of our life. 

While it may be “logical” for somebody to work as much as they can and earn more and more money, it’s also true that the most valuable experiences of life and love can be missed in the process.

The rational mind has a bias to forgetting about the parts of life that are priceless. 

4) “The heart is a lonely hunter”

This phrase shows that somebody recognizes that the heart isn’t always rational, and that the desire to be understood is at the core of the human experience. 

The rational mind can be overtaken in moments of extreme loneliness. 

As in Carson McCuller’s seminal 1968 novel “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” the desire for friendship and connection is more powerful than almost any other human need. 

The sad story between Spiros Antonapoulo and his friend John Singer shows a friendship that doesn’t really make sense in a rational way, yet is still deeply meaningful. 

The rational mind has a bias of telling us our emotions and connections that don’t make much sense are invalid, but sometimes they’re the most meaningful part of our lives. 

5) “You can’t make a heart love somebody”

Many of us have had this situation:

We meet a kind and attractive person who should be everything we’re looking for in a partner. We’re ready to be with them, we know they would be a good match. 

It makes sense to be with them. We want to want to be with them. 

Yet the feelings just aren’t there. Our rational mind tells us “go for it! Don’t be an idiot! This person makes sense for you.”

But your heart knows it’s just not the right match. 

As George Strait memorably sings, “You can lead a heart to love, but you can’t make it fall.”

The rational mind has a bias of trying to get us to couple up with people who “make sense” and would be a “good match” even when we’re just not feeling it. 

6) “You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”

The above was actually said by Albert Einstein and is 100% true. 

It shows the limits of the rational mind, which seeks to endlessly loop back and forth to figure out the solution to challenges we’re facing. 

But the rational mind is often its own worst enemy, tying us up in a pretzel as we try to analyze and think our way out of a difficulty. 

In many cases, there is no rational solution. For example, if struggling with persistent negative thoughts we can’t just “think positive” and be fine. 

Sometimes it’s necessary to bypass thinking altogether and get more into our body or emotions and away from rationalizing and trying to intellectually solve everything. 

The rational mind has a bias to solve problems through analysis and intellectual understanding, but this actually can often worsen emotional and personal problems. 

7) “There’s more than one way to look at things” 

The rational mind is particularly prone to scientism, which is the “excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques.”

How could somebody believe too much in science? 

Well, for example, if they believe that the definitive proof of lower intellectual ability in a child means that child is therefore not deserving of the same rights as other children.

Or if they believed that a genetic chance of mental illness meant somebody should be sterilized. 

This may “make sense” within a scientific framework. But it’s also wrong by many people’s ethics. 

This is why something being correct in a numerical or scientific sense doesn’t necessarily mean that it can be considered in pure form to dictate policy decisions or logically pursuant conclusions.

The rational mind has a bias to thinking it has overcome and bypassed the human need to believe in something.

8) “We all need something to believe in”

Those who say this demonstrate a deep understanding of human psychology and motivations. 

The need to believe in something and have a framework of meaning in our lives is deeper than a mere desire:

It’s a driving force. 

Belief can make people do powerful things, and lack of belief or over-rationality can lead to extreme misery and hopelessness. 

The rational mind has a bias to invalidating religious and spiritual belief as superstition or an “opiate of the masses,” but in so doing it denies the possibility that there is a divine reality and that faith can be both necessary and beautiful for a well-lived life. 

9) “It might not make sense, but it’s still true” 

Many things in life are hard for the rational mind to grasp, but they’re still true, powerful and relevant.

For example, it might not make sense for somebody to be in love with their partner and there might be no rational reason we can perceive for their love. 

But it still exists. And it’s still valid. And it may well last.

Who are we to say?

The rational mind tends to try to break everything into correct vs. incorrect or right vs. wrong, but the real world and real lived experiences tend to be a little messier than that. 

And if we don’t face that we set ourselves up for a lot of unpleasant shocks and surprises. 

The rational mind believes it acts only on “facts” and logic. The truth is that the rational mind can become even more ideological and fanatical than the religious or spiritual mind.

In fact, the rational mind has a bias to binary thinking, which can lead to denying the messiness of reality and living in a black-and-white bubble. 

Your lyin’ mind

Rationality is necessary, valuable and important! But it’s not everything.

Our minds are crucial in our understanding of what’s going on in our own lives, careers and relationships.

But they need to also be guided by emotional intelligence and an understanding of the importance of our hearts.

The rational mind is important to listen to at times, but we should never take it as the gospel truth without also consulting our hearts.

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